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Pakistan | Family List | Labiatae | Ocimum

3. Ocimum tenuiflorum L., Sp. Pl. 597. 1753. Benth. in DC., Prodr. 12: 39. 1848; Domin, Bibliothec. Bot. 22, 89: 1928; Keng in van Steenis, Fl. Males. 8, 3: 376. 1978; Press in Hara et al., Emum. Fl. Pl. Nepal 3: 160. 1982.

Vern.: "Tulsi".

I.C. Hedge

  • Geniosporum tenuiflorum (L.) Merr.
  • Ocimum sanctum L.

    Perennial, 30-60 cm. Stems with rather long spreading eglandular hairs and oil globules. Leaves ovate-oblong to elliptic, 2-4x 1-2 cm, crenulate or serrulate, acute, cuneate, sparsely pilose, gland-dotted on both surfaces; petiole 1-2 cm. Verticillasters 8-10, separated, 3-6-flowered. Bracts 2 mm. Pedicels 2-3 mm, spreading in fruit, ± tercte. Calyx 1.5-2 mm in flower, c.4-4.5 mm in fruit; upper lip suborbicular, apiculate; lower lip longer than upper; lowermost pair of teeth long subulate, curved upwards. Corolla purplish or white, c. 4 mm. Nutlets c. 1.3 x 0.9 mm, pale brown, broadly ovoid-elliptic, mucilaginous on wetting.

    Fl. Per.: almost throughout the year.

    Type: [SW India]. Malabar (LINN 749/13 - microfiche! - cf. Press & Sivarajan in Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. 19: 113. 1989.).

    Distribution: Almost pantropical, with an obscure natural range.

    The sacred or holy basil of the Hindus apparently occurs in our area only as a cultivated plant. It is readily distinguished from the other two species by the spreading pedicels and the internally glabrous calyces. There are various colour forms with combinations of purple or green calyces and purple or white corollas.


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